Friday, October 5, 2007


"What's the great assignment today," asked Luke.

"Looks like we're going to Darthria to do some pruning," replied Jackson, making air quotes around the word pruning.

"Great, so we're going to fly off to another ass backwards planet and shoot the hell out of any intelligent life so our colonists can arrive after the clean up crew finishes picking up the sticky mess."

"Yep, pretty much," said Jackson as he adjusted his SmartFoam battle suit. "But you already knew that and just wanted to rant, right?"

Luke shot him a dirty look as he checked the clasps on his boots. You just think you're so smart, don't you, he thougth. "Yeah, I knew it already. Doesn't mean I haven't gotten bored of it."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Demons, Demons Everywhere

Jared waited in the dark. At the mouth of the alley were noises he was well acquainted with. A ghoul, human servant of the demons, was crying out in pain and fear as its master disciplined it.

He wanted to act, to rush toward the end of the alley and slay the ghoul and its master. Since the demons had emerged, since they had taken over everything, he had managed to kill one, and that had been a lucky break. He had killed plenty of ghouls, though. If it was just the ghoul he might have gone after it, followed it to its lair, and killed it, but he was too tired. Besides, Jared had another goal to accomplish.

The alley he waited in was near the river, and he could smell the fishy, wormy scent on the slight breeze. The demons had tainted much on their conquest, but they left the waterways clean. It seemed that there were some things that everyone needed, regardless of their origins.

The sound moved on, yet Jared stayed put. He had been given specific instructions, and if he were to join the others, the fighters, then he needed to follow the instructions to the letter.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Start of Something...Sluggish

The first thing Rick was aware of when he came to was a splitting headache that throbbed in his skull. It started just above his forehead and transformed into waves of nausea in his stomach. The second thing he noticed was the musty smell of plant decay and rich, wet earth.

From somewhere behind him came the sound of his 1988 Chevy Astro Van knocking and sputtering. Farther off, an owl hooted, while leaves rustled all around him.

He shifted, trying to roll from his front to his back and an army of aches and pains that had been dormant sprang into action. He opened his mouth to groan in pain, but his mouth was covered in a slimy film.

He wiped away the thick, mucus substance and took a deep breath of the cool night air. Something was crawling on his face. It slithered slowly down his cheek toward his neck. He snatched it and brought the object toward his eyes, not wanting to move more than he had to. It squirmed in his hand. What he held was the biggest slug he had ever seen. It was as thick as a ballpark hotdog and half as long.

As he took a hard look at it, the slug stopped moving and seemed to be staring back. Rick’s face twisted into a grimace of disgust and he clenched his fingers into a fist. As he did so, he thought he heard a small, thick voice cry out. Whatever sound he thought he heard, it ceased when he squeezed his fist tight, crushing the slug into a slimy pulp.

When he opened his hand, strings of entrails and slime connected his fingertips to the palm of his hand. He made a move to wipe the mess off on his coat, but instead paused and then snapped his wrist, flinging the squishy mass at a nearby tree. It struck the tree’s trunk with a plop and then fell to the ground. Slowly he sat up, propping himself up onto his elbow and then sitting up from there. He wanted to move his head as little as possible. Each heartbeat pounded out another flash of pain in his head.

The van sputtered violently and then wheezed.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Mad Libs, and a Zombie

It had been an incredibly long day at work and an even longer week, the kind of week that lasts for months. Jared was convinced that his bosses would flip a switch and stop the clocks at random intervals during the day. The switch also stopped the clocks on everyone’s computer, of course. Regardless, the week was over and the weekend was charging to life. Well, it would be charging to life, if Jared wasn’t stuck on zombie watch in the cemetery.

Normally, zombie watch was a welcome change of pace, a chance to meditate, to focus, and occasionally a chance to kick some rotting corpse’s ass back to the crypt. Tonight, however, he could not get into the groove, and the headstone he usually perched upon felt lumpy and foreign. Maybe tomorrow he could get Cassie to cover for him. She owed him anyway, considering how he took four of her shifts when her boyfriend, the preppy, arrogant junior broker, took her on a surprise getaway. That smug bastard. And what did she see in that jerk anyway? He wouldn’t be able to fight off a zombie hoard, let alone a single zombie, with an army of chainsaw wielding robots that were programmed for no other purpose than killing zombies. Okay, he admitted, maybe that was pushing it a little.

That line of thought was getting him nowhere, and he pushed it aside as he tried to find a more comfortable perch on the marker for Mr. Gary Linerman 1914-1976 Husband – Father – Disaster. Jared had always wondered about the inscription, but found it more fun to guess at its meaning than to actually research it.

With the moon full and the sky clear, there was just enough light to read by, and he fished around in his backpack until he found the battered and creased pad. He had discovered early on that Mad Libs were an entertaining and easy way to pass the time. He flipped the pages until he came to one that was uncompleted. It was the second to last. He reached into his inner jacket pocket and pulled out a green felt tip pen.

“I need an adjective,” he called out to the empty graveyard. “Anybody? Anything? It’s just an adjective. Ok, it’s up to me then. How about ‘bloated’.”

He scribbled it in and moved on to the next blank. “Ok, now I need an adverb.”


Something behind him groaned, a low mournful noise that sounded like a yawn and a grunt mixed in a blender and poured out slowly.

The cold and fetid corpse breath drifted to him and clung to his face.

“And just how do I spell that,” he said as he set down the pad and moved his hand slowly to the handle of the machete resting against Mr. Linerman’s marble slab.

The zombie groaned again, and this time its breath made his eyes water. It was just behind him, and he knew that if he waited any longer he would feel the thing’s cold, spongy hands on his back.

“Now I need a verb,” he said, his hand tightening on the blade’s well worn handle. “I thought I’d use ‘slash’.”

He pushed off the headstone and spun around. The machete’s blade glinted for an instant in the moonlight and then sunk into the undead creature’s yielding flesh. Jared was by no means a tall man, but he was wiry and packed a punch. The man this particular zombie had spawned from was huge, nearly six feet eight inches tall and weighing 300 pounds (mostly muscle).

The machete had missed the walking corpse’s head and neck completely, and had instead sunken into its chest, lodging in its breastbone. It barely noticed the blow and continued walking in the slow shuffle of the recently deceased. Jared gave the handle a tug, but it would not come away easily.

“Damn,” he said, and retreated back a couple steps.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Favor

Recently, a friend asked a favor of me. He wanted to know if I could hold onto something for him, but he couldn't tell me what it was.

Turns out it’s an ancient scroll that fell out of his teacher's atache case. The teacher hadn’t realized it fell out and my friend was all set to give it to him when he noticed it’s malign content. After reading several lines of the scroll he realized that it contains a powerful spell with which the caster will command all of the forces of the underworld to effectively take over the world.

He couldn't be sure what the teacher's intentions are with the scroll at this point and so he needs to keep it out of his grasp. Therefore, he elected to hide the scroll at my house putting my family in danger of being attacked by whatever malevolent forces are out to get this powerful talisman. The jerk.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Q: Why does pepper make one sneeze?

Pepper, from the early English Peppegh is part of an elaborate medieval torture system, where by the victim would be forced to grind pepper for the Lord at his stately dinners and anything not left over would be forced into the victim's nose. The sneezing reaction is part of an evolutionary step documented in certain captives, and generally spread throughout humanity, where they would effectively expel the leftover seasoning.

Monday, March 12, 2007

A Pirate's Life for Me

Who wouldn't want to be a pirate. You get to go where you want, take what you want, shoot what you want and be a grungy layabout. Then, if you're a pirate, you instantly get tons of street cred. Pirates are the curs of the sea, and they don't take any lip from anyone. Plus, pirate = rum, and lots of it.

Of course, there are downsides to being a pirate. There's voodoo, being chased by the East India Trading Company, getting all manner of fish eyeing you up for food, and the constant threat of sea madness. Although, those things do all have a certain romantic attraction to them as well.

It's something to debate. But when it comes right down to it, I say Pirate...yes!

Get Your Write On

I'm really trying to write on a regular basis and hopefully sell some stories. It's a little slow going, but if I make it a regular occurance I think all will take care of itself. Getting the baby to sleep before 12 helps.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Not Food

For times when you aren't sure, or you're just too hungry and your judgement is clouded, here is a list of some things that are considered not to be food. Keep in mind, there are many more times in the world than I have space for describing as not food, so this list isn't complete.

*Paper is not food.

*The lint in the dryer after the load is done, while warm and it smells nice, it is not food.

*The container of heavy whipping cream that has been in the fridge for so long that it is no longer liquid but a large gelatinous cube, is not food. It was at one time, but don't be confused it isn't anymore.

*Likewise, a Skittle crushed in the waffle of your shoe is no longer food.

*A CD with a picture of food on it is not food.

*The gunk that has dripped down into the bottom of the refridgerator is not food.

*The little burrs that can be pulled off of a dog after it has walked through the woods are not food.

*An old sock, even though it is full of flavor, is not food.

*Urinal cakes are not food. I know, I know, they have cake in the name, but they're really not food.

*Pine needles, not food.

*The cotton ball in a bottle of tylenol, is not a delicious snack to eat while you get rid of your headache.

*Fake food is not food.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Alien Encounter

Did the aliens come to you last night too? They came to me and said that I and a small group of others were the key to saving their planet from destruction at the hands of The Great Void. Apparently, their home world is threatened by a sweeping darkness that is spreading throughout their galaxy. The Great Void consumes everything in its path and leaves only a cold nonexistence in its wake. They showed me images through their mind link. Itwas terrible.

Of course, you would already know all this if the aliens did come. It seems an impossible task, but if The Great Void is not stopped it could come to our galaxy next. I got a little nervous when they spoke about "upgrading"me. I can't imagine how something like The Great Void could be fought, let alone defeated or eradicated, but I know that something has to be done. Hopefully it will all be made clear.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Across the Dessert

They had told her the talisman was across the vast dessert. It was the key to survival for her people, and she had been chosen by her people to get it. She tried to remember the brief training she had received, as well as her wilderness lore from her childhood, but all she could think of was the fact that her last real meal she would eat for a long time was four hours behind her and that even after four days of walking she still wouldn't be able to see the far side of the burning wasteland. With the scorching sand before her and the blasting winds in her face she took her first step.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Drawing a Blank

There was something there floating in the recesses of my brain earlier today, but now I have no idea what it was. I think the Noggineers took it. The Noggineers are little intangible gnomes that sneak into your mind and steal your thoughts when you're not looking. There is little defense against such creatures. Although they are not invisible, they have an uncanny ability to blend in with their surroundings.

If you happen to spot one they can be identified by their aluminum foil hats and feet that are twice the length of their arms. When spotted if you can say spaghetti backwards they will instantly turn into warm buttery popcorn that can be fed to your enemies to give them a nasty case of the hebbie gebbies.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Empty Space

There is an empty space in my head that consumes everything that comes near it. This black hole of brain space is hungrier than all the hippos in all the Hungry Hungry Hippos games that ever were. However, on occasion, the brain finds something to reject and needs to purge. This is where the process of creation begins. The power to create and destroy worlds begins in the empty space. And who's to say that in some corner of the universe or in one of those empty spaces a world is not born or destroyed with a thought. I'm thinking of a world populated only by pink elephants. They are all named Jim, except for one who is blue and calls himself Carl. There, now the world is out there somewhere, waiting to be discovered. Oh wait, it was just hit by a super mega asteroid. It's gone now, back into the darkness. It's components have retreated into the empty space.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Bigfoot Lady

The Bigfoot Lady stands at the edge of the forest in her long, blue overcoat. Every day she tosses syrup-laden pancakes into the edge of the woods, hoping to entice Bigfoot to come out and say hello. At her feet is a stereo playing a mix-tape of Wookie sounds from the Star Wars movies. While she stands there she hums a soft tune as waits for her hairy man to come. Little does she realize that Bigfoot is more into Star Trek and his favorite color is indigo.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

The Wombat's Return

This time, when the wombat came in I could tell something was seriously wrong. Last time he was a mess from his fight with the space monkeys. It had been par for the course. This time, he was limping severely and a deep wound by his rib cage was oozing blood. He grumbled angrily as he came around to my desk. I looked at him for a minute, eyeing up his condition, and I was worried that I might have to call maintenance to pick up a wombat carcass from my cube. Unfortunately, my super spatula was in the shop for a recharge and repairs due to an incident at a high-speed flapjack flipping contest.

"What are you looking at," he said.

"You don't look good," I replied and eyed the puddle of blood soaking into the carpet.

"I thought you had the space monkeys taken care of."

"I did, but they came back, in greater numbers, and this time they brought a GSM."

"What's a GSM?"

He looked at me like I was stupid. I gave him a penetrating glare that said I wasn't in the mood, I had deadlines after all, and he explained. "A GSM is a Giant Snake Monster. They come from one of the first planets that the monkeys took over. Their heads are the size of a Volkswagen van and their scaled bodies stretch on seemingly forever. Their reptilian minds are as cold as any machine and they have a nearly unquenchable thirst for blood."


"That's all you can say? 'Oh?' If you saw one you wouldn't have any clean underwear I can just about guarantee that. Besides that, the GSM plays host to any number of smaller but no less vicious creatures from the depth of space that possess the same hunger. I was one of the few that made it back."

At this he slumped down on the floor and I was really starting to worry about the stain, and the smell that wasn't getting any better. His eyes drifted closed and for a minute his breathing stopped. Then, raggedly he sucked in a great lungful and began to snore. How I wished I had that spatula so that I could at least get him outside. Fortunately I still had my Port-o-Genie 3000. I conjured up the fiery demon and told him to send the wombat back to his domicile and clean up the mess. After all, if the wombat was here reporting all this to me, he must have saved the day.

The wombat woke as his form faded away. Panic settled on his face quickly.

"You stupid human! The threat is still hovering above the planet! We got the snake, but its parasites float up there now, and without my help you are doomed."

Then it disappeared and the Port-O-Genie with it since I had just used up the 3,000th order.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

It's Just Not Right

How can a horse beat a bear? In nature it just wouldn't happen and in football it shouldn't either. Horses don't have claws or sharp teeth! Ugh!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

The Repository

With reverence and more than a little caution Double B opened the repository. The doors opened slowly, the air creating a low whoosh noise. For a minute she stood, gazing at the collection as she liked to from time to time. For generations her family had been coming to the repository, now deep in the wasted lands, to add to its collection.

This was not just an average visit. Today she had something to add, something special. She could sense that it would be a jewel in the collection.

Slowly, almost ritualistically, she removed the black leather glove from her left hand. Her immaculate nails gleamed in the stark, white light. She choose her index finger, always her favorite for extraction, and inserted it in her right nostril. It took but a moment's digging to retrieve, and it slid from her nose satisfactorily.

She studied the specimen, looking at it from different angels. She couldn't have asked for better. Then she had to find a place to set it. Some members of her family were content to flick their treasures anywhere, but not Betsy. She selected a spot in the middle of one of the shoulder-high shelves, among samples, hard and brittle, that dated back 100 years or more. Gently, she pried it from the tip of her finger and placed it on the shelf. Then she stepped back, took one last look around, replaced her glove, and resealed the repository of the Booger Family.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I Got Nothin

I'm afraid I got nothin' today. The contents of my brain have spilled out of my ear and puddled in the seat of my chair. Sitting in pooled brain is an unpleasant experience, let me tell you. For one it's squishy. Then, the longer you sit in it the colder it gets. Plus, gray matter is a bitch to clean out of the carpet. It's starting to smell funky. I guess I'll have to clean it up soon. It's still dribbling out of my ear a little, more the right than the left. Tomorrow I'll have to go to the store and pick out a new one. I'll try and get an upgrade. Perhaps it'll be a gray matter brain with speckles of green. Sounds like a good idea to me.

Monday, January 29, 2007


The first time the guys asked Jack to “go grubbin” he couldn’t believe it. He was walking through the hall on the way to fourth period, when Chet asked him. Jack stammered out a surprised yes, and Chet told him where to meet everyone after school.

Jack was dumbfounded. He had heard the cool kids talking about grubbin before, but he never thought they would ask him to come along. Maybe it was his recognition from the school for almost single-handedly winning the district’s Super Scholastic Competition, maybe it was one of his articles in the school’s paper (his expose on the history of the school’s oldest rivalry had been on the front page), maybe one of the cool kids found out his dad was a big wig at one of the country’s top video game companies.

He flushed with pride and couldn’t sit still until the end of the day when he was to meet everyone just off campus. At 3:30 the bell rang and a very excited and anxious Jack crammed his books in his bag and then walked to the 7/11 down the street. Sure enough, not ten minutes after he got there, just long enough for Jack to think this might have just been a prank, Chet and his buddies, Chris and Tom, pulled up in his cherry red convertible. The top was down and the music blaring. Chet whipped the car around to where Jack was standing and waved him in.

Chris and Tom sat in the back, and each gave Jack a hearty slap on the back when he sat down.

“You ever been grubbin before,” Tom asked.

Jack shook his head and they were off. They drove past the town limits and out into the hilly and forested countryside. When they pulled off into a forest preserve, Chet turned the music down. At the same time, Tom and Chris quieted down as well.

“We don’t want to attract any attention,” Chet said. “You know grubbin isn’t exactly legal.”

“Yeah,” Jack said. “I know.”

“You’re cool right,” Chris said. “We don’t want you to go snitching or anything.”

“He’s cool,” Chet said.

They parked the car and got out, and then Chet led them off into the woods. When they came to a large rotting log he held up his hands and they stopped.

“This is were the prime grubs are,” he said.

Then he reached into the log and pulled out a handful of fat, wriggling grubs and some partially rotten wood. He picked out one from the group, the fattest, and blew the wood particles off of it. Then, with a brief look to the others, he slurped it into his mouth and began to chew. Within moments the enzymes in the grub were taking effect and he began to chuckle at nothing. Chris and Tom didn’t wait, but dug into the log themselves. Jack was still hesitating and so Chet blew off a grub and tossed it to him.

“Go on, eat it.”

Jack looked at the white, writing thing in his hands and then popped it into his mouth before he could think twice. He bit down hard, and the bitter juices flooded his mouth. He nearly gagged, but then he swallowed the fluid and could feel its effects take hold. Colors were brighter, the world seemed to swim, and suddenly everything was funny. He took another, and another, and soon he was in a euphoric stupor. That was when the others snuck off, unnoticed. Some time later, Jack looked up and found them gone. He went looking for them, and when he stumbled out of the woods Chet’s car was no longer in the parking lot. Instead was a police cruiser.

“Son,” said the burly police officer. “Have you been grubbing?”

“N-no sir,” he said, and wiped grub juice from his chin. Then he took another step and nearly fell over.

“I think you’re going to have to come with me. Grubbing is a serious offense.”

And with that, Jack was loaded into the cruiser and taken away.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Walking in the Woods

I wandered down a snowy track laid out before me in a silent forest. The fading dusk light cast everything in shades of gray and black. The snow, even the light, absorbed sound so that I couldn't even hear my own footfalls. I was the only traveler on the path and felt like the only soul for miles. The air was still, the animals silent.

Without warning the ground began to shake. Snow fell to the ground in great heaps, and a host of animals ran toward me. Momentarily frozen, I stood watching as they ran right past me and continued on behind. A rumble and then a roar filled the air. The light had faded further, and all was in shadows.

The flood of animals was past, but the savage roar continued. Gradually the light became brighter, but to my confusion, it didn't come from above. It came from in front of me, and it glowed a vibrant green. Trees were pulled from the ground, the mud and dirt around their roots spattering all around me. Then it emerged, a giant creature the likes of which I had never seen before.

The green beast was covered in a layer of coarse fur. The greenish light came from it's chest, pulsating gently. I threw the trees aside and moved toward me. The beast's mouth opened to unleash another savage roar and I could see rows of serrated teeth. The remnants of a skunk hung from its jaws and the stench hung off of it like a cloak. It raised a thick, clawed paw as if to strike.

I cowered, waiting for the blow to knock my head off when suddenly I was falling. The ground had opened up and I fell 20 feet into a chamber below the forest. With the wind knocked out of me all I could do was lay on the floor of the chamber and look up at the animal raging above me. It's green light cast strange, moving shadows in the chamber around me. I looked and saw ancient carings in the smooth rock wall. Some were so old they were crumbling away.

Something shuffled behind me. I rolled over and scrambled back, trying to see through the darkness and the dust. A small form emerged from the depths of the chamber. It was a tiny man, only a foot tall. He was clothed in squirel skin and capped by a hollow acorn. He came within the light cast by the thing above and spoke in a surprisingly deep voice.

"It is our fault that the Glaxor has escaped, and now we will need your help in retreiving it."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Mr. Softee

Mr. Softee is a crafty fellow. His one goal in life is to dish out soft serve to the people of the world. His specialty is chocolate. He is such a crafty fellow that he continues to dish out soft serve, long after you don't want any more. He presents it in such a way that is impossible to refuse. Eventually, you get to the point where the mere scent of more chocolate soft serve will make you want to wretch. The only solution is to clean it up quickly and hope that you can contain him before he tries to give you more.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Problem With Space Monkeys

The space monkeys of legend are a band of ruthless marauders from a parallel dimension. Much of their origin is still shrouded in mystery. It is known that they are the result of a misguided series of experiments, however, the scientists responsible for their first appearances have all been terminated at the hands of their creation.

The monkeys taste for carnage is insatiable. At their beginnings, their numbers were small, but as they plundered and conquered new lands on their home world their forces grew. There are few that have survived an encounter with this menace. Those that have lived tell horrific tales of chaos and destruction. It was not long before the monkeys gained the means to travel among the cosmos and then between dimensions.

The space monkeys are different from average monkeys in a few ways. Their skin and fur are green. They can come in different shades, but they are invariably green. Engineered with hyper-intelligence, they are adept problem solvers and stand just behind man in their inventiveness. Also, they are generally larger than their Earth counterparts.

Once they set their sites on a planet there is generally no stopping them. Earth is a precious jewel, and coveted by the space monkeys, among others. For the time being, the wombats as well as some other galactic forces stand at our door to protect the planet against interstellar invasion. It can only be a matter of time though, until something breaks through. Whether that be the space monkeys or an unidentified other remains to be seen.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The World of Tomorrow

I have seen the world of tomorrow and it is strange indeed. The arrival of martians will spark some of the greatest advances in human history, but it will also bring great tragedy. The first martian mission will come as a delegation of peace. The populous will hijack their alien technology and explore the galaxy, stealing other sources of technology as they go. This will go on for years until finally, the universal explorers cross the wrong alien race.

The Gummi Trolls are not as unforgiving as they would seem, given their delicious appearance. Their merciless tactics of war leave a swath of destruction across the galaxy. Eventually they find their way back to Earth and decimate much of the populous. The rest flee into the colonies, forming rag tag bands of rebel fighters that strive to restore some of humanity's stature on Earth and other worlds. But alas, they are unorganized and deprived of the necessary equipment. Their attempts, while valiant, are wrought with failure.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Tradgey of Humpty Dumpty

It is a little known fact that Humpty Dumpty was one of the greatest crime fighters of all time. His outer shell made him a difficult opponent to best physically, and his deductive reasoning skills were second to none. He deftly solved his cases, using cunning and guile to find his culprits.

Alas, it couldn't last for the day came when Humpty had his great fall. His friend the king rushed to his aid, but it was too late. Yoke broken, he seeped into the earth before he could be properly collected. When the case was reviewed, it seemed that Humpty had not simply fallen. His distance from the wall and the pattern of his break suggested he had been pushed. Suspects were questioned, but no arrests were made. All the while, Mother Goose watched from the sidelines, taking notes and chuckling to herself when no one was around.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Green Revolution

The Green Baby revolution spread swiftly and without warning. "Green Babies Rule!" was scrawled in homes and printed in newspapers around the globe.

The message said it all. They had come to take over, and their would be no stopping them. Their mark, a tiny hand print done in green finger paint began to appear in the towns and cities. Buildings bearing this mark were soon decimated by the Green Baby Army, reduced to a pile of crumbled brick and smouldering diapers.

The people tried to resist, but they were incapacitated by the babies' giggles and coos. Governments toppled, that is...until The Sitter of Babies arrived from the planet Nannymous 6 and restored order once more.

Monday, January 15, 2007

That Damn Snow!

Sally couldn't understand why the snow burned her skin so as it fell upon her in soft, downy flakes. Then again, she had never liked snow, at least, not since it eradicated her family in a desperate attack. She lashed out at it repeatedly, but it swirled around her even more. It circled in.

That's when she remembered her blow torch. Without a second thought she pulled it from her pack. The weight was satisfying in her hand. She turned the knob and heard a satisfying his of gas. But there was no flame. Why didn't I buy the one with the automatic starter, she thought. She rifled through the bag, feeling her way to the bottom, until her fingers found the striker.

In her distration, the snow closed in on her. Each flake burned itself into her exposed skin: her face, her hands. It flew at her eyes and dove at her mouth.

She yanked the striker from her bag and tried to light the gas. On the third try it caught. A flame shot out of the end, yellow, red and blue. The snow melted and then shrank back. She saw this and laughed, a hysterical sound absorbed by the spirialing flakes.

The Wombat's Visit

Today of all days the wombat had to come. It waddled into the office, sniffing tentatively and going on and on about how the universe was such a safe place because of its efforts. Already having a hard time concentrating, I tried to just ignore it, but its bulk and the stench of many dead space monkeys that followed it around as a puppy follows a steak made this impossible. A fresh cut was just above his right shoulder and the wound was oozing.

"I go to all this trouble of eliminating the space monkeys from this sector," he said, "and I can't even get a mention in your silly mag. "I tried to explain once again that our mag has no place for wombats, but it was to no avail.

By this time, his stench was bothering everyone in the room, especially after he shook himself to try and dislodge some of the space monkeys' blood. A wad of green monkey hair stuck to my copy stand and I had to get a scraper and use nearly half a bottle of Goo Gone to get it off. I was getting angry, and my boss wanted the creature gone, so with a flick of my wrist I deployed my automatic, levitating, Teflon-coated, gargantuan spatula and scooped him up. With the use of my containment field in a box it was no problem to keep him in place on the floating slab of metal and hustle him outside, where I deposited him at the back of the parking lot. I set the containment field to dissolve in two minutes, giving me plenty of time to get back inside and not worry about him slinking in the open door after me.

I was walking down the final hall to my cube, passing the windows, when a movement caused me to look up and out. The wombat flew past, his chrome-plated ionic jetpack carrying him ever skyward. In his right hand he carried his MB (monkey blaster) 55+. With his left he was flicking me off. I waved the spatula at him, realizing that we'd just play this game again in the weeks to come, just like we've done so many times before.